Tag Archives: Human Rights

He Was Just A Palestinian Boy Going To See An Aunt

It is one of those minor incidents in the conflict between Israel and Palestinians, but the story is so sad as to what it reveals about the current state of Jewish consciousness regarding social justice. Children throughout the world learn the story of Little Red Riding Hood who was accosted by a wolf on her way to see grandmother. Perhaps, it is time to learn the story of Bassam, a twelve year old Palestinian boy who set out on a trip to see his aunt, and was not accosted by any wolves, but he did run straight into the Israel Defense Force. Due to travel restrictions he took two taxis, but was still not at his aunt’s house. Someone suggested he take a short cut through some wooded area and off he set only to suddenly be halted by two members of the IDF. They handcuffed him and threw him into a jeep with the warming to say that he had been throwing stones if asked.

Bassam was tossed from one police station to another and finally sent to jail where the prisoners took care of the frightened boy. Ilyad Misk, an attorney for DCI, Defense For Children International, spotted the boy and offered to defend him. The police insisted he was a criminal and wanted a heavy bail set which, obviously, the boy could not pay. The Judge took pity on the boy and noted no one had informed him of his rights. Of course, no one had told his parents he was a dangerous criminal and in jail.

On the stand Bassam was asked if he used a sling to throw the rocks and was bewildered since he had no idea of the meaning of a sling. He was also confused as to where he threw rocks that he had never thrown. In the end, they set bail low and sent him home.

After three thousand years, is this the best we Jews can do in the name of civil rights!!

Unanswered Questions On Libya Deal!

A mystery still remains concerning the extraordinary “compassion” shown by the Scottish government in releasing a mass murderer who was dying of cancer. Justice Secretary Jack Straw wrote letters to his counterpart in Scotland, Kenny MacAskill, which emphasized that it was in the UK’s “overwhelming interests” not to exclude Abdelbaset al-Megrahi from any prisoner exchange program. Two years ago during discussions between the UK and Libya over oil, Straw noted that “wider negotiations are reaching a critical stage” and the name of the Lockerbie bomber entered discussions between the UK and Scotland.

The United Kingdom needs a thorough investigation into this matter. Was oil the driving point in securing the release of this two bit muderer or was concern about “compassion” for a dying man the reason? Of course, it would be interesting to uncover how many murderers over the past decade were released from a lifetime sentence due to “compassion” on the part of the government. There is something smelly in the ancient kingdom of Scotland.

Would You Believe Russia Will Find Killers?

The history of Putin Russia is ongoing murder of activists who seek to fight for the rights of individuals. President Dimitry Medvedev on Friday ordered Chechen President Ranzan Kadyrov to take a serious approach to finding out who was responsible for the recent murders of two activists in Chechnya. “A whole sequence of political murders and assassination attempts have the aim of destabilizing the situation in the Caucasus. The president of the Chechnya republic should do everything he can to find and expose those responsible.”

There is one problem– what if the president of the Chechen republic has had a hand in the deaths of these activists? Human rights groups have accused the Chechen government of complicity in the murders of several activists. Most probably Medvedev’s call for action is merely a response to criticism from European leaders like Chancellor Merkel.

Death Of Rights Activist-Death Of Russian Freedom!

Natalia Estemirova was leaving for work when four men grabbed her and the fighter for human rights into their car as she shouted, “I am being kidnapped.” A few hours later the body of one of Russia’s most prominent defenders of human rights was found by the roadside with bullets in her head and chest. Russian human rights activists once again expressed their outrage at the death of someone who fights to uncover human rights violations in a nation that is still governed by Putin’s ideas concerning justice– whatever the government does is correct and it is only justice for all to do as they are told. Ironically, the murder of this wonderful woman came a week after President Obama visited Russia and discussed with President Medvedev the importance of human rights.

Estimirova was a close friend and colleague of Anna Politkovskaya who was murdered outside of her apartment in 2006. As of this date, there is no evidence anyone who kills human rights defenders will ever be convicted, let alone see the inside of a prison. In Putin, Russia, it is not the rule of law that dominates, but the rule of the gun. The trial of those accused of killing Politkovskaya was a farce and if Putin gets around to having another trial, we can guarantee it will be an even greater farce.

Robert Mugabe: “Apres Moi, Le Deluge!!”

The evidence mounts that President Robert Mugabe inhabits a world of delusion in which he gives orders and nations of the world jump to obey them just as his lackeys and followers do his biding. The man has lost any contact with reality and refused to make necessary changes that would enable his country to have a chance to regain economic and social stability. Mubgabe entered into a political power-sharing agreement with Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in order to show the world there was a commitment to social justice in Zimbabwe. Instead, Mugabe continues arresting and harassing journalists and members of opposition parties in order to demonstrate he is still in charge.

The latest episode was arresting prominent human rights activist Alec Muchadehama who was in the process of arranging for the release of human rights activists only to be arrested himself. Naturally, a judge threw out the arrest. What would it take for Mugabe to finally understand there will be no $8 billion in aid from foreign donors if he continues this mad policy of arresting people who disagree with him? How can the people of tortured Zimbabwe be protected against the mad man who rules them?

Hail Jenni Williams- A Fighter For Zimbabwe!!

Jenni Williams over the past few years has been in the forefront of those fighting for human rights against the brutal leadership of President Robert Mugabe. In October, 2008, she was arrested for taking part in a peaceful protest which endeavored to obtain more food for the millions of people who were starving. She was placed in jail for and brutalized and tortured. Since 2003, Ms. Williams has been organizing Zimbabwe women to fight for their economic, social and political rights in a society which they are marginalised by men who run the government and society. She has been arrested 33 times since beginning the fight for women’s rights in Zimbabwe.

Once she was abducted and driven into the darkness where police threatened to kill her and then leave her body in an unknown grave but she wound up in a jail where a sympathetic policeman came to her aid. During her recent imprisonment she had to sit in the burning sun for hours until her entire body became sunburned. A colleague came and said that Barack Obama had won the election. “YES,” that news “made the pain not so bad.”

As an activist she has been forced to send her children to the United Kingdom for safe keeping and remains in Zimbabwe fighting for human rights.

Mugabe Refuses To Deal With Reality!

President Robert Mugabe has been in power for decades and regards himself as his nation’s savior for leading the fight to end colonialism so it is unimaginable for this creature of ego to imagine a situation in which his power only extends to the capacity of creating problems, not solutions. After agreeing to a power sharing arrangement with opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, the president proceeds as though he has all power and the world will accept his decisions. The Mugabe regime jailed 17 opposition leaders on charges of treason even though no one outside his tight circle of lackies believes there is any validity to the charge. A Zimbabwe court approved bail for the human rights activists, but Mugabe made clear the trial against them will proceed.

No outside nation will provide money to the government of Zimbabwe as long as these civil rights violations occur. Mugabe can have his trials, but there will be no money for a nation which has a 90% unemployment rate. The Mugabe thug group apparently are attempting to see how far they can push this madness. They inhabit a world in which they live in fantasy of long past heroics.

Zuma And Human Rights

The emergence of Nelson Mandela to power in South Africa enabled people in that country to point with pride to a man who embodied every concept associated with human rights. In 1993, Mandela pledged “human rights will be the light that guides our foreign affairs.” Jacob Zuma has not been prominent in any aspect of human rights and strongly opposed granting a visa to the Dalai Lama because of fear it would damage his nation’s ability to secure Chinese investment. Perhaps, the strongest failure on the part of South African governments in recent years has been their continued support for Robert Mugabe’s dictatorial rule in Zimbabwe which has ruined that nation’s economy as well as driven millions to flee. At several points, Zuma did criticize Mugabe, but in the end gave him support.

There is also fear within South Africa if Zuma will use power to oppress those in opposition to the African National Congress. If Zuma goes down that road it will inevitably lead to a white flight along with money and business investments. Hopefully, he does not follow the lead of his friend in Zimbabwe who allow hatred and power to over-ride his need to respect human rights.

Rwanda Genocide Accused Freed In UK

Four men accused of participating in the infamous 1994 Rwanda genocide were freed by a British court on grounds if they returned to Rwanda it would be impossible for them to be accorded a fair trial. The justices ruled to accept the extradition request from the Rwanda government would be in violation of Article 6 of the European convention on human rights which safeguards the right to a fair trial. The men are accused of killing or conspiring to kill members of the Tutu ethnic group. Lord Justice Laws and Lord Justice Sullivan ruled there was concern over the “impartiality and independence” of Rwandan courts. Some witnesses claimed they were afraid to testify in support of the four men because they would then face being placed on trial themselves.

This is certainly a complex issue, the men are accused of participation in the Rwanda genocide but they have a right to a fair trial. We have learned from the Bush administration that accusing someone does not mean the person is guilty. On the other hand, what if they were guilty and escaped punishment because their rights were being protected?

Human Rights Worker Attacked In Russia

Russia is termed a democratic society because there are elections and, in theory, there is freedom of speech and the press, but in all too many cases those who stand for the rights of those in opposition to the government all too often wind up beaten into unconsciousness by unknown assailants. Lev Ponomaryov arrived home only to be greeted by thugs who beat him so bad he was sent to a hospital. Amnesty International once again called on President Medvedev to take a stand against this hooliganism which was spawned under the regime of Prime Minister Putin. Ponomaryov said bluntly: “I am firmly convinced that this was not a casual attack by hooligans but revenge.”

Ponormaryov has been attending the trial of former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky who was imprisoned for daring to stand up to Putin. The human rights activist has also been meeting with representatives from Europe rights groups. This is not the first time he has been beaten and this is not the first time those who stand for human rights in Russia are beaten, and, in some cases like that of human rights lawyer, Stanislav Markelov they are killed.

President Medvedev was a lawyer who promised to respect human rights. He still has not carried out his promises.